Talk:Shiprock

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http://adventuretravel.about.com/b/a/123700.htm A story about whether or not climbing ShipRock is legal

Recent revert[edit]

The additions recently made were all POV versions of statements that already appeared in the article. The deletions were totally unjustifiable since they are uncontroversial factual material. If someone wants to expand on and clarify the particular religious significance (in a non-POV fashion) and/or the legal status of climbing on Shiprock, that would be appropriate, although discussing it on this talk page would be good beforehand. -- Spireguy 22:27, 13 January 2007 (UTC)

Apolgoies for not following wikiprotocol in my previous edits. It is correct that the numerous references to climbing should not simply be cut. The statements do not appears in the existing text with the same significance and this should be changed. The current text portrayal of Shiprock is heavily biased from a climbers perspective. This is problematic because it is in total disregard to the Religious beliefs associated with Shiprock and should be noted as one of those controversial points. Shiprock is much more important as a sacred place than as a climbers dream.

While the easiest route and first ascent might be well sourced, these are quite minor details compared to the religious and cultural importance of Shiprock for natives throughout the southwest. In any case, First ascent should be noted as First recorded ascent by a white man.

All statements which are not well sourced or fact will be edited, and I am waiting for a proper expert on Shiprock to provide more details on what should be included here.

Diastar 02:21, 20 January 2007 (UTC)

I edited the page again, quite a bit, to carefully note and source the climbing story and to try to put in a little of the religious part (for which I do not have good references, unfortunately). I can expand a bit on the climbing stuff (we can put this stuff in the article if necessary, but it's quite long and probably overly detailed):

Expanded quotations[edit]

However, questions of legality, ownership, safety, and religious significance have made the issue of access to Shiprock a complicated story. Some sources report that climbing the peak was declared illegal in 1970.[1] However Cameron Burns reported in 1995 that:

Nathaniel Boyd, a right-of-way agent with the Navajo Tribal Parks and Recreation Department, told me that while climbing is prohibited in certain places, such as Canyon de Chelly and Monument Valley, it is not prohibited elsewhere.... A permittee (local permit holder) has domain over the permittee's land and is the person to ask for permission when seeking a climbing objective.

...Bob Rosebrough, a lawyer, dug into Navajo annals to find that the basis for a "ban" on climbing on the reservation was a letter written by Charles Damon, director of Navajo Parks and Recreation in the early 1970s. Damon suggested a ban after the death of two climbers on Shiprock in 1970.... Rosebrough conducted several interviews with lawyers in the Navajo Department of Justice only to learn that the letter was never backed up with legislation and that no ban exists, or ever has existed.

Indeed, in an interview with Damon himself...Damon suggested to Rosebrough that if we wanted to pursue climbing on the reservation, he seek permission at a local level, rather than the central tribal government.[2]

A report in 2000, from a person denied a climbing permit, noted that "A climbing accident on Shiprock...four years ago resulted in a big rescue. The grazing permit administrator informed me that Shiprock Chapter House had passed a resolution as a result of the accident encouraging the Window Rock Chapter House not to give out permits."[3]

The above quotations are hardly serious legal evidence - the articles by Burns reflect his utter ignorance of the laws or how to conduct careful research. He makes no distinction between climbing on Navajo land in general or approaching sacred places and seems unaware that Shiprock might have have a different status from the other climbs he was permitted. For further POV reading, http://gorp.away.com/gorp/books/excerpts/ship.htm gives a very nice subjective account of a tourist. That it was published hardly makes this verifiable. -- diastar

The link you mention is in fact the full text of the American Alpine Journal 1995 article that I quote from above. I would agree that the Burns article is not legal proof of anything, and the possible distinction between Shiprock and other climbs is quite possibly more important than he realizes. But I'm not sure why you say that it reflects his "utter ignorance of the laws." He and others clearly made a good effort to try to understand the legal situation. If there is a clear law forbidding climbing on Shiprock, then it would be great to have a reference to it. I would not be surprised to see such a law. But so far all I have seen are unsupported claims that there is such a law, on one side; and a documented, if not airtight, claim that there is no such law. In the previous version of the article I was trying to make that clear, while not coming down definitively on one side or the other, and while citing sources.
To the point: I feel that your deletion of the AAJ sources, if justifiable at all, needs much more justification than simply a negative personal opinion of the author(s). How much more verifiable do you need to be than to be published in a carefully edited, world-famous journal? I'm not saying that every claim that Burns makes is true; that is not how Wikipedia works. What I'm saying is that the claims are significant evidence, and should be included.
So please explain your rationale more carefully in terms of the Wikipedia guidelines. In the meantime I'm going to put the material back in. -- Spireguy 03:49, 25 February 2007 (UTC)
After reading through the wikipedia guidelines, it is clear that Cameron Burns does not constitute a notable source. Burns writes "We were certain that Shiprock couldn't be part of any Navajo's grazing permit as there are no houses for miles around it, and the Parks and Recreation Department's Boyd had never said anything about Shiprock. It was my blunder not to press him—or someone else—further." That the publication is respectable does not make the author of the article better informed.
I maintain that the Burns reference is a verifiable and reliable source. (Your use of the word "notable" here may indicate a confusion between two different criteria; I'm not sure.) First, the source is certainly verifiable (in the narrowest sense), simply because it is a printed source (and is also available on the web). I think the disagreement here is whether the source is reliable, or perhaps a better word is credible; but in that regard I still affirm the source. If one reads the whole article, it shows that, while Burns begins by not knowing much about the situation (as indicated by the quotation above), he does make a serious investigation, and combines his findings with those of another investigation. While these investigations did not reach the level one would want for legal proof or a careful land survey, they did reach the level a professional journalist investigating the matter would have reached. Wikipedia cites such journalists without further comment, and cites many less credible sources, so this cite should stand on those grounds. Remember, the question is not whether the source is correct, it is whether it is verifiable and credible. Disregarding such a source is contrary to the neutral point of view.
Since I have no desire to engage in endless back and forth, I'll try calling in a third opinion to see if that helps.

Responses to concerns[edit]

The issue of perceived bias toward a climbers perspective is straightforward to address, namely by including more (verifiable) material on the religious and cultural side. I have tried in a very small way to do that, but my (easily available) sources are not good in that area. I may have time to get better ones.

In general, in an article that is already long and in some ways complete, a preponderance of material on one facet of the subject can conceivably constitute lack of neutrality. However in a short article such as this, it is inappropriate to delete notable, verifiable, factual material simply because material relevant to other facets is not yet present.

It would be great to have an article that addressed Shiprock's importance as a sacred place. The right way to do that is to add material, not delete it.

The first ascent, difficulty etc. are not "quite minor", certainly not minor enough to delete them. Regardless of one's opinion of the ethical status of climbing the peak (and I for one would not encourage it), the peak is notable partly for those reasons.

I changed it back to "first ascent", unmodified, since the peak is not climbable by non-technical means, so there is no real possibility of an unrecorded ascent.

Comments welcome -- Spireguy 04:36, 21 January 2007 (UTC)

Comment: I have made a couple of revisions. Referring to printed climbing material does not make the source good. Technical means? There are hand holds carved into Shiprock. Not the white man's technology, but is actually use of technical means. In terms of being notable for its climbing, it is to climbers. That Shiprock is iconic of the southwest would be obvious if photographers or painters (or non-climbing tourists) were being quoted. The difference is that photographing and painting images of Shiprock do not violate tribal custom. POV seems like a flexible concept.

-- diastar

I addressed the vague "does not make the source good" issue above: be specific about why the material is not appropriate.
About the first ascent: Are you claiming that there was a native first ascent? Because of the extreme difficulty of climbing Shiprock, that's an extraordinary claim and it would require extraordinary evidence. Shiprock is not like many other peaks which probably did have unrecorded first ascents. It is simply way too hard to climb without modern equipment. It's not an issue of whose technology it is; the means to climb Shiprock didn't exist in any technology before the 20th century.
So I'm afraid I'm going to basically revert that one as well, since it's just misleading as written. Giving hypothetical credit to people based on physical impossibilities isn't cultural respect, it's just shoody treatment of facts.
I agree with your last point about the notability of Shiprock as a subject for photographers and painters (in fact all artists). If I find good sources mentioning this aspect of Shiprock, I will include more material. I would like to see this article become longer and more balanced; there certainly need not be an emphasis on the climbing aspects, as I have said before. But the material about climbing should be as accurate and verifiable as possible. -- Spireguy 03:49, 25 February 2007 (UTC)
It's not our business to assess the likelihood of a native first ascent - how does anyone know whether there was or wasn't a Navajo Lynn Hill centuries ago? The correct phrasing is "first documented ascent" or "first recorded ascent", which is verifiable and refrains from speculation. Stan 19:35, 25 February 2007 (UTC)
There is precedent in Wikipedia:WikiProject Mountains: if a peak is a simple walk-up, and is in land that is inhabited by first nations, then we refrain from attributing a first ascent. But, to my knowledge, I've never seen a technical first ascent disputed: it's always assumed that modern technology and techniques are required for such ascents. See Wikipedia:WikiProject Mountains/General#First ascent. Thanks! hike395 06:54, 5 March 2007 (UTC)
I think the point Stan raises should solve the problem: Here we deal not only with the issue of something not being recorded, but an oral tradition that is about NOT being recorded. I guess the assumption about modern technology and techniques are too culturally loaded to be of any help here. BTW: I think it points to the cultural specificity of something like wikipedia - dead grandparents that were surveyors for the Bureau of Indian Affairs and actually knew something about the beliefs and respected the oral tradition do not count!

I disagree strongly with Stan, and agree with Hike395. By Stan's logic, we would have to label every first ascent as a "first recorded ascent." (E.g. what about "a Sherpa Messner"?) I would not say that the (very mild) assumption about modern technology is culturally loaded in this case. -- Spireguy 20:38, 27 April 2007 (UTC)

Third opinion[edit]

On some of the various issues expressed here:

  • The idea that the Navajo may be culturally offended by climbing of the mountain requires a reliable source. The passage had been fact-tagged since January, and I can't find a thing indicating it, so I've removed it.
  • This article in general focuses too much on mountain climbing and too little on the geology of the mountain and other such issues. If some information could be found regarding cultural significance, that would be excellent as well.
  • Unless there is reliably-sourced evidence that the mountain had been climbed before the first recorded success, the first recorded success is, for our purposes, the first success. There is no need for a qualifier unless it reliably is in doubt whether that was genuinely the first.

Hope that's helpful! Seraphimblade Talk to me 05:52, 28 April 2007 (UTC)

Thanks for the third opinion.
  • The fact tag was my fault; I left it in when I should have referenced the new source (Linford) which I had used for the cultural section. It clearly states that many Navajo are offended by the idea of climbing the peak, and the cultural section includes one reason why. Hopefully that addresses your concern about that section. I did tighten up that part (eliminating a redundant use of the "legal and appropriate" line).
  • I changed to "first ascent", unmodified, as suggested.
  • It would be nice to have more info on culture and geology, although I'm puzzled by the claim that it focuses too much on mountain climbing (in its current form, now that I added a lot on the culture). It currently has 3 times as much on culture/geology than on climbing. Just wondering, not complaining.
  • Do you have an opinion on the use of the Cameron Burns source? I still think that needs to be in the climbing section. As it stands, the section gives the impression that climbing has not occured since 1970, which is false. -- Spireguy 16:45, 1 May 2007 (UTC)

Reiteration[edit]

There is a clearly reliable source that rock climbing is not allowed on Navajo Nations lands - there are no permits available and no climbing is allowed. This is clearly indicated on the website of the administrative body that governs the land.
I removed the climbing references to Shiprock from the table. This is clearly not of the same hierarchy of information as general geological information.
In keeping with the wikipedia policy on First Nations lands, I also changed the first climb back to first recorded climb.
References to any controversy about the legality have also been removed as those seem to be cleared up.
It would possibly be appropriate to delete the references to the report in 2000 as it seems irrelevant now.

diastar —Preceding comment was added at 02:49, 19 July 2008 (UTC)

After a bit of further research into the Navajo Position on rock climbing - there are mentions that rock climbing is not allowed in Monument Valley or any part of the Nation on numerous official websites. It seems that the Nation is actively working to promote this. So I removed the anecdote from Beyer - it seems a moot point now. Hopefully, this does not ruffle any feathers. I did leave in the bit about climbers seeing Shiprock as an interesting place to climb, the first recorded ascent, and the further seven routes, but I think this should also be changed. But shouldn't all of this be referenced?

Diastar (talk) 13:00, 20 July 2008 (UTC)diastar

First, thanks to Diastar for finding an unequivocal source about the legality. That's very helpful, and it does make a little bit of what was in the article before unnecessary.

However, I disagree with the removal of a lot of the other climbing information, and I have reinstated it, in a modified form, to clearly take into account the unambiguous legal status. The information about the first ascent and the climbing difficulty are clearly relevant (and are referenced), and are completely standard facts for the infobox. (That's why there are fields for them there.)

As to the issue, previously discussed, of "first ascent" versus "first recorded ascent", I did not see a consensus on this page to use "first recorded ascent." Diastar, you mention "Wikipedia policy on First Nations lands"---please provide a link to the relevant policy or guideline page. I would be surprised to see a guideline that asserts that the phrase "first recorded ascent" must be used in all cases on any First Nations lands. Most technical peaks in the world were first climbed by non-local climbers, so I don't see how it's crucial to this issue that Shiprock is in the Navajo Nation. However, I would like to see the guideline to which you refer. For another discussion, see Wikipedia:WikiProject_Mountains/General#First_ascent. -- Spireguy (talk) 16:48, 24 July 2008 (UTC)

hi spireguy. I think the climbing references should be removed from the info box - they are not core to the entry and not as specific as height, location etc. It contributes to the notion that Shiprock should be climbed when there is an apparent information campaign by the Navajo Nation to discourage climbing (I found a red outlined mention on numerous Navajo websites that Climbing is not allowed). I think the discussion on First ascent is mainly about the infobox? And, this historical climbing information is included in the article.

For the first ascent vs first recorded ascent in the actual article, I think Stan's suggestion to use first recorded is supported by the guideline that Hike mentioned in the mountain category for First Nations land (mabe the same discussion?). I am disputing the suggestion that modern technical means are the only ones with which it is possible to scale Shiprock. My point here, is that oral tradition allows for ceremonies taking place on top of Shiprock - there are not sources suitable for wikipedia, but certainly point to the peak having been climbed before the Sierra Club trip. I guess my Grandpa is correct that there are handholds going up the cliffs. Sites like Acoma Pueblo and Chaco Canyon are evidence that the technology existed and was used to scale cliff faces several 1000 years ago. In this case, I think Stan's point about not speculating is the best way forward. It seems like a productive compromise. Diastar (talk) 20:39, 24 July 2008 (UTC)diastar

I disagree. As I said before, the climbing information is correct, sourced, specific, and interesting. It does not "contribute to the notion that Shiprock should be climbed"---it relates the fact that Shiprock has been climbed, which is quite significant. So it should stay in the infobox, where it goes for every other mountain article.
As to the FA vs. FRA, I still want to see the guideline you mentioned earlier about First Nations lands. If there is no such guideline, please indicate that as well. Just above, you refer to "Hike"---do you mean "hike395", in the discussion at Wikipedia:WikiProject_Mountains/General#First_ascent? The point there was that "FRA" applies to nontechnical peaks. And I stick by the claim that Shiprock is a technical peak par excellence. (Acoma and Chaco are really not comparable; the word "cliff" can span a huge range of climbing difficulty.) As you say, the oral tradition you refer to (and your Grandpa) are not reliable sources. If Wikipedia allowed claims based on oral tradition to be recorded as fact, all religious claims would immediately get that status, for example. The sources I have seen clearly regard the Sierra Club trip as the first ascent, and I agree. Hence, I still strongly feel that using FRA here would be misleading. I'll ask at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Mountains for more input. -- Spireguy (talk) 16:22, 25 July 2008 (UTC)
OK, looking back, I think you are referring to hike395's earlier comment on this talk page: "if a peak is a simple walk-up, and is in land that is inhabited by first nations, then we refrain from attributing a first ascent. But, to my knowledge, I've never seen a technical first ascent disputed: it's always assumed that modern technology and techniques are required for such ascents." I already agreed with this, as it supports my position, since verifiable, reliable sources regard Shiprock as (highly) technical. -- Spireguy (talk) 16:35, 25 July 2008 (UTC)

Yes, I was referring to the input from Stan and Hike395. I had a brief look at the mountain discussion, but it looks like this topic was raised, but I did not see a clear consensus or that the issue had been gone into. Maybe Shiprock provides an interesting case because it combines quite a few points all in one. Ok, I am taking issue with the information presented in the infobox. As far as I can tell, that is not totally standardized for all Mountains. Generally, I do not understand why the ascent would be more important that, say, the mineral composition. It is also unclear to me why the ascent information is presented in the same category as the altitude or geographic location (another point). So, it does not make sense to me that those bits of information are presented as the same class of data. Of course, I understand that it is interesting for climbers, but not for a more general public. For the first documented/recorded ascent vs first ascent, I am disputing the assumption that the technology did not exist prior to 1939 as the well documented climbing technologies of the Anasazi are evidence that the technology existed for substantial climbing. This should be grounds enough to contest the that technologically aided climbing existed in the area and that it is likely Shiprock was climbed prior to 1939. Noting the first recorded ascent is the ideal compromise and is technically correct. I do not see a problem with this change because it does not change the stated fact and allows for earlier activities to have taken place. Diastar (talk) 00:14, 26 July 2008 (UTC)diastar

Hi. With regards to the infobox, the references to climbing should be removed. It is clearly illegal to climb Shiprock and these references should not be included in such a breakdown. Wikipedia should also be a bit responsible and not spread mis-information. The following is in a 2006 press release issued by the Navajo Parks and Recreation Department in reference to Monument Valley.

This recent geologic event emphasizes the fragility of the Monuments and even more emphasizes the need for conservation and ecologically-minded tourism. Reports of the Navajo Parks and Recreation Department allowing rock climbing are false. Yet several websites have postings on how to evade Navajo Nation regulations and proceed with dangerous and illegal rock climbs in the park. Even more serious than the possible physical harm illegal climbs could pose is the religious damage done to the Navajo people by these non-Navajo visitors. The Monuments are sacred to the Navajo people and any human interaction (by Navajo or non-Navajo) is strictly off limits. Please abide by the humble religious requests of the Navajo people and do not climb the Monuments. “Navajo law will be strictly enforced on this issue,” Parks Department Manager Ray Russell also added.

For the article, I would suggest adding the expanded information on the Sierra Club party and removing

A modification of the original route is still regarded as the easiest, and it is rated as Grade IV, YDS 5.9, A1.[1]

This information is now moot, given the legal status of climbing.

For the ascent, I would suggest simply changing first ascent to first recorded ascent. That point seems to hinge on a question of technology and I am referring to the achievements of the Anasazi as well documented sources that highly developed technologies for climbing, building etc in use in the area long before 1939. The should be adequate to allow that Shiprock was possibly ascented but not recorded. Ugh, therefore, first recorded ascent is correct and appropriate.

Ugh. Apologies if this is too wordy - too much coffee! Diastar (talk) 08:14, 26 July 2008 (UTC)diastar

I don't know if it's worth putting the article, but what technical aids were needed to climb the rock? Pitons and rope? Something more? Did Brower et al. ever mention signs of earlier climbers?
—WWoods (talk) 02:09, 26 July 2008 (UTC)
Well, if the assumption lies in the technology, maybe that is of general interest? Actually, I have not looked into the Mountain project articles, but how significant is the FA or climbing in relation to the actual text? How much detail is the norm?
Diastar (talk) 18:22, 27 July 2008 (UTC)diastar

In general, I edited the section, leaving in the disputed points and adding the perspective of the Navajo Parks and Recreation. On the advice of another wiki editor, it could be that even more information on this might be of interest? The Burns article could be referred to and partly explain why the rock climbing community spread incorrect information the status. Up until a few days ago, wikipedia was one source of misinformation. Comments or suggestions?

For the infobox, it still seems to me that no harm would be done by expanding the related info in the article and removing it from the infobox. Checking a few mountain articles, there does not seem to be a uniform approach to the infobox. It also appears that FA are not always mentioned in the body of the article, or that the infobox contains information not covered in the article. In any case,the Mountains project guidelines clearly state that the "These are only suggestions, things to give you focus and to get you going, and you shouldn't feel obligated in the least to follow them." It does not seem appropriate to include the easiest routes/first ascent in the infobox when it is clear that climbing is illegal and an offense. That gives the impression that this is core information.

The FA vs RFA discussion seems really difficult. Maybe it would be good to get input from anthropologists/archeologist with knowledge of the region? If I understand it, we are disputing the technology needed for such a difficult climb? And according to experts on rock climbing, Shiprock was impossible to scale without modern means? So we need an expert on ancient technologies. Or?

For now, I will put a bit of energy into cleaning up the article in other areas. Beautiful Mountain will need a disam.

Diastar (talk) 19:20, 27 July 2008 (UTC)diastar

Responding to Wwoods:
The climb was technical, so yes, rope was certainly necessary. Given the current grade of YDS 5.9 A1, copious pitons would certainly have been used in 1939. Remember, this was the pre-eminent unclimbed mountaineering challenge in the late 1930's. It was not just "substantial climbing", as Diastar puts it. However, see my response to Diastar on the FA/FRA issue below.
Responding to Diastar:
First, let me respond about FA versus FRA. I think that the issue is more properly with how mountain articles should, in general, deal with the issue. If there were a clear guideline, we could apply it. As you say, no really clear guideline seems to have come out of the discussion on the Mountain WikiProject. I've stated my position, which aligns with the practice of many mountaineering authors: for technical peaks, I think the burden of proof lies with the person claiming the possibility of an unrecorded ascent. This position has support on Wikipedia, as the Mountain discussion shows, but in the absence of a strong consensus either there or on this talk page, I'm OK if you change it to "FRA" here. I'll just say again for the record that my preference would be "FA".
About the infobox and the climbing information, my position is unchanged. First, I think you misunderstand what you are seeing in other mountain infoboxes. Those that are lacking the FA and route info simply haven't been researched enough---it's not the result of a decision that such information wasn't important. Theoretically, the infobox should be completely filled out for every peak.
Second, simply because climbing is illegal does not mean that the information about how hard it was to climb the mountain is incorrect or uninteresting (as Wwoods's question above confirms) or "moot". Putting in accurate information does not encourage the illegal activity, especially when we indicate unambiguously that it is in fact illegal. See for example Cannabis smoking, among many other articles, to indicate Wikipedia's standards on this issue. So I do not see including that information as "spreading misinformation".
I was not so much interested in the technology, but was wondering how unlikely it was for someone to have made the climb before the 20th century. Pretty darn unlikely, I gather.
—WWoods (talk) 05:41, 2 August 2008 (UTC)
As to including Burns' research, clearly qualified by the unambiguous statement from the Parks Department, I think that's great. It would show a significant fact, namely, that the status was unclear to the climbing community for a long time.
One question: I'm wondering why the quotation from the Parks Department included above is not what is referenced in the article itself. It should be, since it is necessary to verify the claims about websites still promoting climbing on the Navajo Nation. I couldn't find a link to the quotation you cite above; could you provide that, or if it is not online, reference it specifically in the article? -- Spireguy (talk) 20:09, 27 July 2008 (UTC)


Ah, for the infobox - my point is that wikiguidelines are guidelines, suggestions for organizing information. These are not rules, so in general, the infobox can differ. And it does differ on mountain articles with various infoboxes and sets of information currently in use on wikipedia. I am suggesting that these details are not core to the article (even if they are to every other mountain article on the planet!) and it is inappropriate to list them in the infobox in the specific case of Shiprock.

"This project is WikiProject:Mountains, not WikiProject:Hiking or WikiProject:Mountaineering." from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Wikipedia_talk%3AWikiProject_Mountains%2FArchive_7&diff=228057116&oldid=228038048

For the article, in the proper context, that information does not seem so inappropriate. For the FA vs FRA, I would seek an opinion outside of the mountaineering community as we need an expert position on ancient tech included for consideration. For this, it seems reasonable to hold off until there is a reliable source and no ruffled feathers.

With regards to the quotation above: I have cited it as a source for the information, but not a longer quote. It is what you get following more info: http://www.navajonationparks.org/images/Monument%20Valley%20PR.pdf Do you advise linking this press release? Or adding the entire quotation? I am fine with both.

Otherwise, I will add the disam for beautiful mountain and hope you take care of the Mountain details!

Diastar (talk) 21:22, 27 July 2008 (UTC)diastar

I'm happy with "first ascent", and I see that since this edit almost two years ago we have defined 'first ascent' as the first modern recorded climb.
Its past climbing history is part of the character of the mountain, and in my view to suppress it would be to take political correctness to an extreme. I can't see any harm in including technical information in the article on the routes to the summit as well, even if the mountain's owners forbid climbing. No doubt they would make exceptions to such a policy in certain circumstances, and for all we know the policy may prove to be less enduring than the mountain itself. Xn4 (talk) 00:44, 5 August 2008 (UTC)
I see your point about the FA vs FRA. For me, this definition was the point for changing the text in the article. It clearly states what is meant in a wikiworld without needing a link. I agree that the wiki article should not suppress the climbing history - especially the Sierra club. But I also think this needs details in order to communicate why this is important to a non-climbing public. My beef with infobox is temporarily solved, though I may follow up on that as a general problem later (ie. first ascent and easiest route are clearly not often understood as a climbing reference). The Fajada_Butte article looks like the way forward. For the text of the article, the details of easiest route are meaningless to a non-climber. I strongly suggest expanding on that if it should remain in the article. As for policies, I guess the mountains will endure more than policy or wikipedia! Personally, if I were a young Navajo bureaucrat with a bit of internet know-how and a touch of respect for my elders, I'd slap fines and tire locks on anybody who looked twice at Shiprock with an eye to climb after googling Shiprock + climbing. .

Diastar (talk) 23:59, 11 August 2008 (UTC)diastar

section break[edit]

We clearly disagree strongly on the issue of the infobox. I don't think it's productive to discuss it further without more input, which I hope will be provided.
Thanks for indicating the source for the quotation. Note that it is specifically talking about Monument Valley, so I think it's important to note that in the article. I'll edit accordingly, you can see what you think. -- Spireguy (talk) 01:39, 1 August 2008 (UTC)
I made a couple of minor changes to the climbing section, hopefully nothing controversial. After reading different discussions about the FRA vs FA that have come up across wikipedia, I opted for the bold change to FRA. It looks like FRA is in common use for mountaineering as well, so should not confuse anybody. I did not alter the infobox (and fully agree with the anti-cluttter position).
I accept your point that discussing the infobox further will not be productive without more input. I would add that more information would also be helpful. It is not clear to me what informed the current set of parameters and what they should convey (to which public). The location, coordinates, prominence bits make sense to me (and are more or less standard map details). The topo map says Ship Rock Quadrangle while peakbagger has 36108-F7 1:24,000. This is confusing. Maybe these are points that would be of general interest in the mountain projects discussions. It would be helpful to have an explanation of the logic for this particular set of data.

Diastar (talk) 00:09, 2 August 2008 (UTC)diastar

"Ship Rock" is the name of the quadrangle topo map, but having the word "Quadrangle" in the infobox is quite unusual; 36108-F7 is some USGS code; and 1:24,000 of course is the scale. See [1].
Obviously the rock-climbing stuff shouldn't be overweighted, but was it illegal to make the climb back in the '30s? If not, when was it made so and by whom? Possibly that's a consequence of the Navahos gaining more control of their land generally; if so, and it's known, it might be worth adding to the history of the area.
"... and John Dyer[1]. ..." I'd guess that that's supposed to be another ref to the Selkeld book, which got lost in some editing.
—WWoods (talk) 05:41, 2 August 2008 (UTC)


A note asking for additional input has been posted on the WikiProject Mountains page, and I'm here because of that. Having read the whole of this talk page, it seems that there are several issues at dispute here. First, should the article record any climbing information about Shiprock, specifically the details of the 1939 ascent and the grade of the easiest route up. I don't have a copy of World Mountaineering to check the reference, but I haven't seen any suggestion that this is not a reliable source or that these facts are not verifiable. The argument against is climbing is illegal and that it offends the Navajo's religious sensibilities, both of which points now seem to be undisputed and are properly referenced. There are plenty of precedents for Wikipedia including details of illegal and/or offensive activities; it wouldn't be much of an encyclopaedia if it didn't. It seems pretty clear to me that the correct neutral point of view is to include these climbing details and also to state that climbing on the rock is currently illegal and describe why.

Should the climbing details go in the infobox? One purpose of the infobox is to make certain notable facts about the rock readily visible. If we look at other technically-difficult mountains, first ascents and other such details are often included in the infobox. I don't see that the fact that climbing Shiprock is illegal or culturally insensitive is relevant to whether this is included in the infobox. (For one thing, I've not seen a source saying it was illegal in 1939, but even if it was illegal at the time, the fact that it was climbed is still notable.) I would however suggest that, in addition to stating the grade, we append "(illegal)" or some other one or two word note. I don't feel that the current footnote gives the fact sufficient prominence: it would be easy to assume the footnote is simply a reference, and not bother reading it.

Last, there's the question of whether the ascent should be marked "first ascent" or "first recorded ascent" in the infobox. First, there's the technical point that the mountain infobox only supports the former. But that isn't good grounds for making a decision. So far as I'm aware, no-one has offered a reliable source that even suggests that there may have an earlier ascent, either an earlier 20th century one, or one by the Navajo. Diastar says that his grandfather said there were "handholds going up the cliffs"; with respect to him, this isn't a verifiable source, unless he published something saying this. I always dislike having to say this, but the fundamental tenant of Wikipedia is verifiability, not truth. It may be true, but if it isn't verifiable, we shouldn't say it. (And by verifiable, we mean something that can be verified by scholarly research, not be scaling the rock in search of handholds.)

I am frequently surprised by some examples of things that have been climbed by native peoples without modern aids, and I think I'm happier to entertain the possibility of a native Navajo ascent than User:Spireguy seems to be. (Though this may well be because he has better sources than me and/or more accurate picture of what is involved in this climb: I've never even visited New Mexico.) Shiprock is a 5.9 (or HVS for those on this side of the pond). I would be interested in comparing this with some things were native ascents are incontrovertibly known to have happened, such as, for example, Stac Lee. But that aside, there is no verifiable evidence to suggest an ascent did happen, or even that it might have done. And in such a situation, I feel we should simply describe it as the "first ascent", not the "first recorded ascent". A useful analogy is Mount Everest. Whilst I can't imagine anyone suggesting a native Sherpa ascent, it is certainly conceivable that Mallory and Irvine reached the summit in 1924. The general consensus is that they probably didn't, nevertheless it is certainly a possibility. But Hillary's and Tenzing's 1953 ascent is still listed simply as the "first ascent".

ras52 (talk) 14:54, 2 August 2008 (UTC)


Thanks for the input! Luckily, there is not a dispute about the sierra club historic ascent information being included in the article. The easiest route information might not be clear to a reader unfamiliar with climbing terminology (similar to the myths and geology). It might make sense to expand on that to improve the article.
In general, the mountain project infobox parameters are not clear to me. It would be helpful to understand what the logic was in deciding on this particular set of information. The physical attributes are a different category of information from first ascent/easiest route. At least, I would say that does raise the question of POV. There are plenty of notable characteristics about the peak. The question is which ones are of general interest to a broad public. If making this information relevant and understandable to a broad public means adding further information and clutter, is it more suitable for the body of the article - where it can be expanded?
Similarly, the coordinates and topo map could be merged into one section. As it is now, the topo map only defines topographic maps and the USGS. Is this relevant information to include in the infobox?
For example, coordinates results in http://stable.toolserver.org/geohack/geohack.php?pagename=Shiprock&params=36_41_16_N_108_50_12_W_type:mountain_region:US Even if the topo section linked to http://geonames.usgs.gov/pls/gnispublic/f?p=gnispq:3:14947273587273494876::NO::P3_FID:915902 Wouldn't that be redundant as this could be included in the geohack information? It has a topo map. Wrong one?
My point about the FA is that it is covered in some detail in the body of the article and that for the easiest route to be understandable for a broader public, that would need more information.
FA vs FRA does not seem so controversial. "In climbing, a first ascent (FA) is the first modern recorded climb to reach the top of a mountain, or the first to follow a particular climbing route. " In this case, adding the word recorded only supports the definition of a first ascent and clarifies that for the non-climbing public.
Again, it seems like this discussion and article would benefit from more input and specific knowledge of Native culture. For now, this one word allows that Navajo, Hopi, Zuni or some earlier advanced cliff dwelling society that commonly built staircases in stone might have had the idea to climb up Shiprock and would have had the technological knowhow to do it.
And, of course, I am not suggesting that my Grandfather is a verifiable source: it just takes time to organize a seance, get the proper sources and edit the article :) He was right about climbing Shiprock - legally, culturally and religiously, so let's give him the benefit of the doubt and see what other reliable, verifiable sources can be located. I'll try to be a bit quicker this time.
Diastar (talk) 21:52, 2 August 2008 (UTC)diastar
I have been asked to contribute to this discussion. I have not the inclination to read through the argument from the start, but I cannot see any reason for not including the first ascent and easiest route infobox fields. That ascent is not currently lawful is footnoted. On the matter of first ascent, it seems to be established practice not to include or footnote unrecorded ascents; but my personal opinion is that if there is significant doubt that the first recorded ascent is the actual first, this should be footnoted or "first ascent" be amended to "first recorded ascent" - and that includes Everest. Viewfinder (talk) 19:09, 3 August 2008 (UTC)

It seems clear to me that the consensus on the infobox is to keep the climbing info. I think ras52's suggestion of putting "illegal" right in the infobox is fine. I'm going to do some edits on that basis. I note that Diastar has already made more severe edits to the infobox, which I don't think were justified by this discussion. -- Spireguy (talk) 02:20, 12 August 2008 (UTC)

In film?[edit]

Shiprock is easily noticed in the film Transformers (film) and I believe it should be added under the 'In Fiction' section of the article. 204.134.34.190 (talk) 22:02, 3 March 2008 (UTC)

I deleted the recently added mention of Transformers (film), since I think that it was trivia, which is not encouraged in Wikipedia. If we added every incidental appearance of every landmark/building/etc. in every film, Wikipedia would be inundated with facts that have no real bearing on the articles in question. -- Spireguy (talk) 01:52, 25 May 2008 (UTC)

Maybe a compromise is needed? A more general mention that Shiprock appears in numerous films with a mention of some titles? Or change the section to Popular culture and add the books and film and open a space for references to photography and painting? Diastar (talk) 13:00, 20 July 2008 (UTC)diastar

I still think that the recently re-added Transformers (film) mention is unnecessary trivia. Comments from others? -- Spireguy (talk) 03:03, 10 June 2008 (UTC)

American Popular Culture[edit]

I would like to introduce a new subject heading called american pop culture that can list references to Shiprock appearing in film, fiction and the like. Actually, I would also suggest a more general entry for film as rock with wings might be more approriate to the town of shiprock entry anyway. Diastar (talk) 20:06, 23 July 2008 (UTC)diastar


As this seems fairly innocuous, I went ahead and merged the two sections into In The Media. I will add a few items later. It would be great to have a source for the Helgrind mention. Additions?

Diastar (talk) 18:10, 27 July 2008 (UTC)diastar


Hello Everyone, I am going to delete the Tony Hillerman link from the 'See Also' list. There is no mention of Hillerman in the article; and no mention of Shiprock in the page on Hillerman. I don't think the reference link belongs here. Cheers. SaturnCat (talk) 07:54, 7 November 2013 (UTC)

General Suggestions[edit]

Article clean up.... Beautiful Mountain links to a redirect to Beinn Bhreagh, Nova Scotia. I guess Beautiful mountain should be corrected with a disam to the second one. working on that

Okie, the photo is sorted. Can we clean up the article? The actual name is not consistent. I think Ship Rock is a mis-spelling that appeared on maps, so we should note that and use Shiprock.

Some of the terminology is not clear and the mythology is quite vague. For a first time reader, maybe these things should be cleared up.

comments?

Diastar (talk) 23:33, 1 August 2008 (UTC)diastar


In keeping with the above suggestions, I have gone ahead and made several changes to the article. Ideally, the introduction is more of an introduction to the article and mentions the key topics covered. Pre-puebloan elements should be expanded. The name related items were shifted to the name section. I think it would make sense to kill Ship Rock - or mention that this is a common mis-spelling? The infamous infobox changes were per the above suggestions: reduction of first ascent to reduce clutter and clarification on easiest routes based on Fajada Butte article. No public access would imply that people cannot go there, also not true, so this is a compromise. Suggestions are welcome.

The geology and legends still need work. That is next. There are a few more books and film references - maybe more? Details? Finally, I added an external link list. Comments and suggestions for future changes?

Diastar (talk) 23:33, 11 August 2008 (UTC)diastar Diastar (talk) 10:39, 12 August 2008 (UTC)diastar

Unclear distance (to the layman at least)[edit]

What does this even mean?

"It lies about 12 by 20 miles (19 by 32 km) southwest of the town of Shiprock"

Never heard the phrase x by y miles, and I feel like I'm not alone. Should probably be clarified.

Amyrlin (talk) 13:13, 11 December 2012 (UTC)

Don't rightly know what that was supposed to mean. Replaced with direct distance from Farmington 30x60 USGS topo. Vsmith (talk) 14:45, 11 December 2012 (UTC)
    • ^ Cite error: The named reference butterfield_greene was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
    • ^ Cameron M. Burns, "Shiprock", American Alpine Journal, 1995, pp. 66-72.
    • ^ Jim Beyer, "Shiprock", American Alpine Journal, 2000, p. 192.